5 Reasons a Church Stops Growing

I was talking with a church recently that had explosive growth, but things have slowed. They wanted to know why they were not growing any longer.

I decided to share my quick answer here.

Obviously, God is ultimately in charge of a church’s growth. There are times where God is giving a season of rest and preparation for a church for something to come. In some situations, God may have even taken His hand from the church.

God is into church growth, however. It’s our mission as believers to produce disciples, and our model example of the first century church was a growing church, so outside the God factor, there are usually reasons for stagnation in a church. Because the church is an organization made up of people, these reasons are often similar to those you may find true as to why growth stalls in the life of an organization also.

In my experience, the reasons for getting stuck and/or halting growth include:

You get comfortable…It’s okay to be comfortable, but when you hang out there too long, it can be dangerous, because you stop trying new things to spur growth and excitement.

You quit dreaming…Dreams inspire, challenge, and grow people and organizations. You’ll never dream bigger than the dreams God has for you or your church.

You stop taking risks…You can’t succeed at anything without a measure of risk. Playing it safe never grows anything. The call of God always involves risk-taking.

You start maintaining…When you fall into the mode of protecting what you have, you’ll be less likely to encourage growth for fear of losing ground.

You fail to walk by faith…Especially for the church…we are a faith-based organization. If you aren’t walking by faith in what you are doing…it’s impossible to please God. (That’s Biblical…look it up!)

Obviously, there is so much more to this issue and to each one of these answers. These are general responses, and there are specific issues with every church or organization. Hopefully, thinking through each of these as a paradigm for brainstorming may help trigger thoughts towards actions that can spur future growth.

What would you add?

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Ron Edmondson
Ron Edmondson is a pastor and church leader passionate about planting churches, helping established churches thrive, and assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life. Ron has over 20 years business experience, mostly as a self-employed business owner, and he's been helping churches grow vocationally for over 10 years.